Greek Austerity

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Sven Sven's picture
Greek Austerity

           

              

             

 

Sven Sven's picture

It's going to be economically [url=ugly[/url]">http://livingingreece.gr/2010/05/02/greece-new-austerity-measures/][colo... for a long time in Greece.

But, the choices are pretty stark: (A) accept draconian austerity measures and receive ~ $150 billion in aid and (hopefully) avoid sovereign bankruptcy or (B) accept total economic collapse.

jacki-mo

Exactly who are the protesters and what are they protesting?

Sven Sven's picture

jacki-mo wrote:

Exactly who are the protesters and what are they protesting?

The protesters are principally public employee unions and students. The protests are about the draconian austerity measures that the Greek government has agreed to.

Protest today resulted in [url=three">http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/05/05/greece.strikes/index.html?hpt... deaths[/url].

Public-employee pay will be cut, and retirement ages will be increased, significantly. Taxes are going to increase as well.

Not a bright future for the youth of Greece.

Snert Snert's picture

Wow.  So they're only going to be paid for 12 months of work each year?  I can see why the phrase "draconian" gets thrown around so much in relation to these measures!  That's just sick.

Workers, stand up for your rights!  Demand your pay for Faketober and Falsevember!!

 

jacki-mo

If austerity measures are not enacted then what is the worst that can happen? Will people starve?

Sven Sven's picture

A government cannot spend substantially more than its income indefinitely.  At some point, the economy is unable to generate enough income to pay the debt (Greece's debt is about 125% of its entire national income).

Greece has reached that point.

Now, no one wants to loan Greece anymore money to finance Greece's government deficits because there is a serious question as to whether that debt can ever be repaid.

It's a real mess.

@ Snert: The measures are "draconian" in the sense that existing incomes will be cut dramatically (public-sector employees will see 20%+ cuts in their income - with pay then frozen for years - and significant increases in permitted retirement ages).  On top of that, taxes will be increased significantly.  I'm not saying that the spending habits of the past made any sense - they were obviously unsustainable - but people will see drastic reductions in their standard of living.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Protest today resulted in three deaths.

 

Were they killed by the riot police, or by the protesters? I need to know whether to start three angry threads about the jackbooted murderers of the State, or pretend this never happened.

 

Quote:
 I'm not saying that the spending habits of the past made any sense - they were obviously unsustainable - but people will see drastic reductions in their standard of living.

 

We don't generally spend a whole lot of tears when people's unsustainable lifestyles come to an end. If the middle class riot in the streets when they can no longer have two vehicles and 100' of frontage, I expect the response from progressives to be "cry me a fucking river".

Sven Sven's picture

jacki-mo wrote:

If austerity measures are not enacted then what is the worst that can happen? Will people starve?

Government funding for deficits would be gone (no one would loan the Greek government any money) and that would force even worse austerity measures.

The EU/IMF austerity measures, because there is an external injection of about $150 billion into Greece, are less draconian than what they would otherwise be in the absence of that funding arrangement.

But, austerity measures, one way or the other, are simply unavoidable.

Greece has hit a wall.

kropotkin1951

The elites bet the countries money at the Wall Street derivatives casino and lost.  Seems fair that all the people should pay since they chose their elites and have control over them, right?  Personal responsibility for every single Greek and bonuses all around for Wall Street.  The free market system is a wonderful thing to behold.

 

Sven Sven's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The elites bet the countries money at the Wall Street derivatives casino and lost.  Seems fair that all the people should pay since they chose their elites and have control over them, right?  Personal responsibility for every single Greek and bonuses all around for Wall Street.  The free market system is a wonderful thing to behold.

The principal problem is that Greek politicians spent, for years, far more money than the country had to spend.

Unless someone was willing to lend Greece unlimited amounts of money (and no one is), Greece simply couldn't continue the same deficit-spending trend.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
The elites bet the countries money at the Wall Street derivatives casino and lost.

 

I don't remember the Greeks rioting to put an end to cheap credit and sudden prosperity. But like the citizens of Iceland, once it stops benefitting them it's someone else's bad idea.

 

I'm sure the Greeks have a policy that if you win the lottery you get to keep your money, but if you lose you can return your ticket for a full refund.

kropotkin1951

Imperialism is a wonderful system.  Especially democratic, free market imperialism.   

I'll bet you blamed the American house buyers for the collapse of the real estate bubble in your country.  Strangely the invisible hand doled out personal financial ruin for citizens and bonuses for Wall street. A truly awe inspiring economic system this free market. The American financial elite get to bet with other peoples money and when their reckless bets crap out they get bonuses and citizens in countries around the world get to tighten their belts because they allowed this to happen.  

Oh and lets not forget the crumbs that apparently trickled off the table before the bills came in. I don't believe for a minute that the Greek people were ever shown those crumbs and told here are the potential benefits and here are the potential downsides, you make the choice.  But what, the invisible hand is inherently democratic so no need to ask people if they want someone to bet their future and their children's future on a long shot in the derivative casino?  

I believe in democracy why don't you?

jrootham

The real problem with Greece is that they are stuck with the Euro.  It's the equivalent of being on the gold standard in the 30's.

To properly respond to the problems in Greece (and Portugal and Spain) a currency devaluation is required.  But because they no longer have national currencies they can't.  So they have to deflate their economies, which is excruciatingly painful (see Depression, Great).

Greece does need to get its budget into reasonable balance, whether it should do that by focusing more on evaded taxes or on public sector pensions tends to be a matter for political ideology (attacking the tax side would actually work better IMNSHO)

 

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Cut the funding to the soldiers defending the government introducing the austerity measures. Then see what happens.

Sven Sven's picture

N.Beltov wrote:

Cut the funding to the soldiers defending the government introducing the austerity measures. Then see what happens.

I suppose it could end up stopping these austerity measures...but austerity measures cannot be escaped (and involuntary austerity measures would be far worse).  Look, the Greek government has engaged in massive deficit spending for years and, now, no one wants to loan them any more money.  Without loans, deficit spending must stop (the Greek government can't pay people with IOUs).  Under the EU/IMF rescue program, the deficit spending will gradually come under control.

George Victor

Europe is about to dump America's Standard and Poor as a rating agency (they gave "junk" rating to Greece's bonds) so that bankers can offer credit at a less than exhorbitant rate.  This seems wise in that S & P was one among those who gave the ABC Paper mortgage offerings an AAA rating a couple of years back...    And Standard and Poor still have the nerve to offer credit ratings....    Only in America, you say.

Sven Sven's picture

George Victor wrote:

Europe is about to dump America's Standard and Poor as a rating agency (they gave "junk" rating to Greece's bonds) so that bankers can offer credit at a less than exhorbitant rate.

If another rating agency were to give Greek bonds a higher rating, would that change the fundamental condition of the Greek government's ability to repay those bonds?  No.  Without the EU/IMF loan, Greece would have defaulted on its bonds.  Even with those EU/IMF loans, Greece's long-term prospects for repaying debt will depend on how successful Greece is at actually implementing the agreed-upon austerity measures.  So, just rating the Greek bonds higher will not likely induce a significant number of investors to part with their cash and invest it in the Greek government.

Besides, how would Europe "dump" S&P?  Global investors will still take S&P ratings (as well as the ratings of Fitch, Moody's, etc.) of Greek bonds into account when deciding whether or not, and at what interest rate, to invest funds into Greek bonds.  Investors rely on a variety of sources to assess creditworthiness.  No one can "tell" or force investors to simply ignore a particular agency's rating opinions.

remind remind's picture

Yep, the elites had the Olympics  and which have now forced the country's people into poverty strategies, and yet 2 right wing hacks here are mocking the working class Greeks.

No matter how hard you try to wipe the dog shit  off of your shoes, sometimes you have to dig it out.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Sven wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The elites bet the countries money at the Wall Street derivatives casino and lost.  Seems fair that all the people should pay since they chose their elites and have control over them, right?  Personal responsibility for every single Greek and bonuses all around for Wall Street.  The free market system is a wonderful thing to behold.

The principal problem is that Greek politicians spent, for years, far more money than the country had to spend.

Unless someone was willing to lend Greece unlimited amounts of money (and no one is), Greece simply couldn't continue the same deficit-spending trend.

The principle problem is that the elites bet the nations money at the Wall St. casino and that the elites paid no taxes. Not unlike the debt crisis the US is in even though, being the US, different rules apply so no ratings change for them. The citizens of Greece should not pay for the actions of the banksters and crooked elites. They should default.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

Economist William Buiter addresses this in a recent Financial Times article:

"The massive build-up of sovereign debt as a result of the financial crisis and especially as a result of the severe contraction that followed the crisis, makes it all but inevitable that the final chapter of the crisis and its aftermath will involve sovereign default, perhaps dressed up as sovereign debt restructuring or even debt deferral.... From Dubai to Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Japan, France, the UK and the USA, the sovereign debt burdens have been at current levels during peacetime only on the way down from even higher public debt burdens incurred during wars."

Buiter is overly pessimistic. Greece's problems can be fixed and so can the EU's. But Papaconstantinou is not doing anyone a favor by caving in to the ECB's demands to slash public spending. He'd be better off standing firm and waiting for concessions from Brussels. Sure, Greece can go the way of Ireland and push the country into a full-blown depression to satisfy the EU deficit hawks, but whatever for? If there's no policy accommodation for the smaller states that don't have mammoth export industries, like Germany, then they'd be better off leaving the EMU altogether and restoring their former currencies. No country should be shoved into a fiscal straitjacket if they don't have to be.

http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney12102009.html

Doug

Snert wrote:

Wow.  So they're only going to be paid for 12 months of work each year?  I can see why the phrase "draconian" gets thrown around so much in relation to these measures!  That's just sick.

Workers, stand up for your rights!  Demand your pay for Faketober and Falsevember!!

 

Even though that - and the whole retirement at 53 thing look silly, it still has to suck to lose them due to no fault of one's own.

Doug

jrootham wrote:

Greece does need to get its budget into reasonable balance, whether it should do that by focusing more on evaded taxes or on public sector pensions tends to be a matter for political ideology (attacking the tax side would actually work better IMNSHO)

 

The budget is so out of balance that Greece really has to do both.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Snert wrote:

 

We don't generally spend a whole lot of tears when people's unsustainable lifestyles come to an end. If the middle class riot in the streets when they can no longer have two vehicles and 100' of frontage, I expect the response from progressives to be "cry me a fucking river".

If only it worked that way. What usually happens is that the middle class throw the working class to the dogs so that they can keep their vehicles and 100' frontage. You are correct though in observing that when it comes time for the rich to throw the middle class to the dogs, so they in turn can hang on to their wealth at the expense of someone else, there are no great cries of sympathy for the middle class from those they previously helped fuck over in order to keep their lavish lifestyles.

But that is just reality, you wanted to talk about semantics definitions of how work days and wages were calculated, as if that meant something.

Bacchus

You mean how the greeks want the germans to have to raise their pension age to 67 so they can hold on to their pensions they can get in their 40s? For jobs they never actually show up to(because they have a second job)? The following all from a BBC article quoting Greeks.

 

I agree, as Doug says, it sucks to lose it, but they really couldnt keep it. The gov't had been falsifying the figures for years and it was bound to collapse without a real big upturn in the economy. It would have been worse had they not been on the Euro

Bacchus

Snert wrote:

Quote:
Protest today resulted in three deaths.

 

Were they killed by the riot police, or by the protesters? I need to know whether to start three angry threads about the jackbooted murderers of the State, or pretend this never happened.

 

 

 

Pretend it never happened

 

Greek bank workers walked off the job in a 24-hour strike Thursday to protest the deaths of three colleagues trapped in a bank torched by protesters during massive demonstrations against the government's new harsh austerity measures.

Maysie Maysie's picture

remind, re your post at #18: while I agree with you in principle, you can't call babblers "right wing hacks". Stop it.

Snert, re post #7: I've long been wondering if you belong on babble, what with all the mocking you do of the site and its participants.

Bacchus, you're on the border with the comment at post 25 as well.

....

Is there a way to have a progressive discussion about this?

DaveW

Doug wrote:

jrootham wrote:

Greece does need to get its budget into reasonable balance, whether it should do that by focusing more on evaded taxes or on public sector pensions tends to be a matter for political ideology (attacking the tax side would actually work better IMNSHO)

 The budget is so out of balance that Greece really has to do both.

Tax evasion in Greece goes hand in hand with contempt for the State and a "low trust" culture in which family and family-based concerns get top priority, often to the exclusion of larger social concerns.

The tax system is so little respected that, as reported in the NY Times the other day, in an affluent Athens neighbourhood where something like 600 people declared to authorities that they had a swimming pool, aerial photographs showed 16,000.

Multiply that by all the "invisible" assets a million times harder to identify, and you get the picture. Hopeless without radical reform.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Multiply that by all the "invisible" assets a million times harder to identify, and you get the picture. Hopeless without radical reform.

 

And all the fault of the financial elites, we're told!

Jacob Richter

The Greek bank employees have gone on strike to denounce the police and safety authorities, plus their employers, for the three deaths.

As for what should be done in Greece: there are too many tax loopholes and the whole banking system has remained in private hands for too long.

http://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1856

Quote:

The left strategy has more to gain from an internationalist alternative.

The major crisis calls for a major policy restructuring in the direction of a democratically planned, participatory socialist economic model and the starting point is the urgent problems of employment, distribution, and ecological sustainability:

- public employment in public transport, insulation of the existing housing stock, building zero energy houses, renewable energy, education, child care, nursing homes, health, community and social services

- a substantial shortening of working time (in parallel with the historical rate of growth of labor productivity) without income losses for the workers to achieve full employment at a low growth rate consistent with the carbon emission targets

- firing freeze and wage floors in the private firms, re-appropriation of the bankrupt firms under workers' control supported by public credits.

- a minimum wage coordinated at the EU level

- a European unemployment benefit system to redistribute from low to high unemployment regions

- an EU budget at the level of 5% of EU GDP financed by EU level progressive taxes.

- tax coordination for higher and progressive corporate tax rates, inheritance tax, wealth and income taxes with the highest marginal tax rate increasing to 90% above an income threshold, which corresponds to the income of the richest 1% of the population

- a progressive wealth tax on the stocks of government bonds with the highest marginal tax rate reaching to 100% above a certain threshold to restructure the public debt

- abolish the Stability and Growth Pact;

- turn the ECB into a real central bank with the ability to lend to member states as well as European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

- nationalize the banking sector and other key sectors such as energy, transport, housing, education, health, social security under democratic participation and control of the workers and the stakeholders (consumers, regional representatives etc.);

- capital controls within and across the borders of Europe.

 

Jacob Richter

Moreover, every major country should just default on their state debt.

jas

Sven wrote:

But, austerity measures, one way or the other, are simply unavoidable.

Greece has hit a wall.

You must be pretty concerned, then, about the imminent crisis in the U.S. economy, too, then? If austerity measures are the unavoidable consequence of chronic irresponsible spending.

On a different note, I wonder why or how this chronic problem evaded the EU's attention all this time.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
You must be pretty concerned, then, about the imminent crisis in the U.S. economy, too, then? If austerity measures are the unavoidable consequence of chronic irresponsible spending.

 

Don't we hear about similar austerity on the horizon all the time?

 

Someday we'll have to give up our private vehicles. Someday we won't be able to buy tomatoes grown in Chile in January. Someday eating meat may not be sustainable. Someday the price of even a potato may triple. Someday we'll have to stop buying cheap plastic things. Etc., etc., etc. Something is either sustainable, or it has to end.

 

Quote:
On a different note, I wonder why or how this chronic problem evaded the EU's attention all this time.

 

As I understand it, Greece wasn't entirely transparent about its situation for a long time.

thanks

-illegitimate debts should not be paid.  the CBC today quoted the Greek president saying that other European states were victim to currency speculators.

-it is doubtful that austerity under Greek residents' control would be worse than increasingly strangulating austerity under private financiers.  all Europeans, as well as Americans, and Canadians for that matter, need to reclaim their rights, and their economies.

jas

Snert wrote:

jas wrote:
You must be pretty concerned, then, about the imminent crisis in the U.S. economy, too, then? If austerity measures are the unavoidable consequence of chronic irresponsible spending.

Don't we hear about similar austerity on the horizon all the time?

Yes, I believe it's a popular conservative talking point.

Snert wrote:

Someday we'll have to give up our private vehicles. Someday we won't be able to buy tomatoes grown in Chile in January. Someday eating meat may not be sustainable. Someday the price of even a potato may triple. Someday we'll have to stop buying cheap plastic things. Etc., etc., etc. Something is either sustainable, or it has to end.

I think you're missing the bigger picture. Someday you may have to end your addiction to constant military actions and occupations of other countires. You may have to give up your addiction to taxpayers funding of private profits. Someday you may have to actually pay for the resources you steal from other countries.

jas

Snert wrote:

As I understand it, Greece wasn't entirely transparent about its situation for a long time.

It's amazing to me that an economic union can occur without an extensive audit of each member's practices, and that revenue and taxation systems would not be harmonized in the process.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
I think you're missing the bigger picture. Someday you may have to end your addiction to constant military actions and occupations of other countires. You may have to give up your addiction to taxpayers funding of private profits. Someday you may have to actually pay for the resources you steal from other countries.

 

Those are the details. The basic idea is exactly the same though: when you've had it real easy for a long time, that will come to an end, and there could be crying.

 

Avoiding taxes, retiring with a full pension in your early fifties and being paid for an extra two months that don't exist must have been sweet. But was that really sustainable?? How? How was that supposed to last forever?

jas

Snert wrote:

Avoiding taxes, retiring with a full pension in your early fifties and being paid for an extra two months that don't exist must have been sweet. But was that really sustainable?? How? How was that supposed to last forever?

Lol. Who are you talking about now?

Snert Snert's picture

Specifically, the Greeks.  But if it sounds like I'm talking about Capitalists then I think that only bolsters my point.  Who thinks that the same perks are infinitely sustainable when received by CEOs?

RosaL

It seems to me that the greek ruling class borrowed money massively in order to convince the mass of the population that capitalism could and would give them a decent life. The money for the bread and circuses they were given wasn't paid for out of the profits of Greek capitalists; it was borrowed. And now the debt has come due and the workers have to pay it. The bread and circuses, they say, are over. The mask is (almost) off. 

remind remind's picture

Maysie wrote:
remind, re your post at #18: while I agree with you in principle, you can't call babblers "right wing hacks". Stop it.

No? Why not? I thought it better than right wing baiters or trolls.

What would you have me and other babblers, call them, or indicate what there are with? Because really one needs not rebutt their words and waste time as really they are breaking the mandate of this whole site and they and we know it. But one has to realize their words need to be challenged, if only to indicate to external readers, babble has not really become Freedominion light.

 

Point of clarification, I never called babblers "right wing hacks" I noted that there were 2 posters who were in this thread. I suppose I could use Libertarian asshats, but again I had thought "right wing hacks", was a softer gentler indication of what they are.

Perhaps  right wing propagandists or narcisisstic Libertarians would do?

At any rate, I am open for optional phraseology  labelling of what they are, as long as rabble management is going to be tolerant of their mocking and baiting of progressive babblers, and wants a more passive aggressive approach being taken towards them.

Perhaps pm me with suggestions so this thread is not derailed further than it was, when they regressively  indicated that they believed it was the regular working folk of Greece's fault that they are in this mess, thereby shifting the actual responsibility off of the shoulders where it is actually at. Or trying to.

 

In closing, I will say; the shrugging off of corruption of the so called "elites' as to be 'a okay', as the masses did not stop them, even though they did not know, is absolute opposite positioning of a  reality that is progressive in perceptions, at best. That they believe people who have been lied and conned deserve what they get because they did not know and thus stop the "elites" from screwing them over, is really not to deserving of a nice label, or even short rebuttal.

Just a short label would do, to indicate to the external to the babble community that this is not a Freedominion branch office.

Snert Snert's picture

So if I'm reading you right, babblers either need to believe that the Greek crisis is solely the fault of shadowy and anonymous "elites" and that the Greeks themselves are blameless innocents, or else those babblers are trolls who belong at Free Dominion.

Is that about right?

RosaL

Snert wrote:

So if I'm reading you right, babblers either need to believe that the Greek crisis is solely the fault of shadowy and anonymous "elites" and that the Greeks themselves are blameless innocents, or else those babblers are trolls who belong at Free Dominion.

Is that about right?

So this isn't going to be about Greece? it's a meta thread, then? OK. Well, then, I actually like having some diverse views around. 

Sven Sven's picture

 

thanks wrote:

-it is doubtful that austerity under Greek residents' control would be worse than increasingly strangulating austerity under private financiers.

The thing is, based on Greek spending habits that have created a mountain of debt, the austerity measures are simply out of the "Greek residents' control".

Greece could turn down the EU/IMF austerity measures...and refuse to accept the $150 billion cash infusion from the EU/IMF.  Then what would happen?  Well, Greece wouldn't be able to pay its debts, no one would lend Greece any more money to fund its out-of-control deficit spending program, and the Greek government would be forced to balance its budget immediately (which would be far worse than the gradual austerity measures being imposed by the EU/IMF).

Why would the Greek government be "forced" to balance its budget immediately?  Well, the only way Greece (or any country) can engage in deficit spending is for investors to put money into Greek bonds.  No investors are going to put any money in Greek bonds without significant austerity measures.

Austerity measures are inescapable and are no longer within the control of the Greeks.

jas

Sven wrote:

Austerity measures are inescapable and are no longer within the control of the Greeks.

Your forgot the "rubbing hands in evil glee" emoticon.

Snert Snert's picture

Here's a question I asked as a comment to Humberto DaSilva's vlog post about Greece:  what, really, is stopping a Socialist government from shifting the burden of this from the public and the public sector to the rich and the private sector by way of an increase in corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, and so on?

thanks

i can't find the article at CBC online anymore that had the nice quote about currency speculation..wanted to confirm which official was quoted

but the main concern is that private financiers are indeed gaming in European currency, in debt, holding peoples of the region at ransom.

why don't the G20 leaders together announce they will explicitly prioritize public money over private money and over financiers' rights deals- can they all be assassinated? I guess until the majority of residents understand the situation, even that kind of move would be difficult..but maybe already many residents do understand the situation- the Greek teacher's union had a sign up yesterday- 'send the bill to those responsible'...

and even if articles are removed from CBC, for the brief time posted indications are journalists here understand...its the editors who are spineless.

torontosask

The public deficit in Greece is no higher than that in the U.S. or the UK, yet they are the ridiculed who have to take the medicine of the IMF. They obviously don't have the clout that the U.S. or UK have to deal with things internally, such as through the massive taxpayer bailouts of banks in 2008.

I created a page of links and articles on what is happening in Greece - background, the austerity plan, the protests, etc...

http://www.g20breakdown.com/2010/05/greek-crisis-background-links

I will be updating it regularily.

thanks

and what's 'gradual' about unemployment and rising prices? about poverty ?  residents are already over the brink.

they'd be able to help eachother more if the slate was cleared and together set about meeting needs.

al-Qa'bong

RosaL wrote:

Snert wrote:

So if I'm reading you right, babblers either need to believe that the Greek crisis is solely the fault of shadowy and anonymous "elites" and that the Greeks themselves are blameless innocents, or else those babblers are trolls who belong at Free Dominion.

Is that about right?

So this isn't going to be about Greece? it's a meta thread, then? OK. Well, then, I actually like having some diverse views around. 

 

Hear hear.  While I generally disagree with Snert and Sven over political matters, I value seeing their points of view being argued and challenged here.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Bacchus wrote:

You mean how the greeks want the germans to have to raise their pension age to 67 so they can hold on to their pensions they can get in their 40s? For jobs they never actually show up to(because they have a second job)? The following all from a BBC article quoting Greeks.

 

I agree, as Doug says, it sucks to lose it, but they really couldnt keep it. The gov't had been falsifying the figures for years and it was bound to collapse without a real big upturn in the economy. It would have been worse had they not been on the Euro

Yeah, those talking points. Sure the idea that some public service workers are sourcing income from two "jobs" a real job, and a titular job, sounds like a scam, but in the large scale of economy what matters is the total take home pay in terms of the work accomplished. This kind of outrage about "fake" work and "perks" is so much "trains run on time" discourse aimed at the working class. The rich, business leaders bankers, professionals and consultants engage in all kinds of "fake" work, and charge large amounts for work they never did in the first place; usually far more than it cost.

One is really tempted to ask how much "fake" work the consultants at Goldman and Sachs charged for when they were mismanaging the Greek government money. If you are saying people should only be paid for work they actually do, I am all for it. I'll believe the sincerity of these claims the day you start talking about forcing lawyers to only charge their clients what they paid their legal support staff for doing their work for them.

As I said before, what is happening here is that in times of trouble, the upper classess and punishing the lower classes by taking away the state largesse after having squandered the kitty paying off thier friends, who are certainly not going to be made to feel the pinch.

This talk of perks, and "fake" work is almost always part of the campaign to justify making the poor pay.

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